A hybrid, lyrical, southern gothic piece of nonfiction that is longform Key West travelogue and its creepy little-known history, culminating in my chilling encounter with Robert the Doll.
“Land of the quick fix. Land of consumption. Land of overwhelming opulence and sadness. Unhappiness masked by plastic smiles.”
The rest of the world conserves, America consumes.
“The thunder and lightning crash so hard around my home it knocks paintings from the wall and tchotchkes to the floor. A wall of rain smashes down so thick I can’t see the road just metres from my front door, nor the community pool out back. I wait for the inevitable sound of sirens that follow these epic peals of skyscape fury — the majority of my town’s residents are elderly retirees; someone once had a heart attack from the noise. As the wind wails, altering the direction of the wall of water this way and that, I imagine this is what it feels like to be in a meteor storm in outer space, frightened and alone. I wait for the power to cut out as it would in Asia, but it never does. This is America, after all. And while I might have experienced ferocious typhoons in Thailand and savage monsoons in Sri Lanka, all those storms combined pale when compared to Florida’s minor tropical furies. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to these terrifying and magnificent displays of nature.” For Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, December 2016.
“These (white) individuals believe I owe them explanations of who I am so they will know where and how to file my brown presence with a suitable label, thereby establishing my validity as an American. These (white) individuals believe it’s their right to put their hands on me because I am different from. Ultimately, these these are questions of (white) entitlement over people of color’s bodies, because it’s never brown or black people who ask invasive questions or cross physical boundaries. They probably have it happen often enough to understand how degrading and humiliating it is to have someone treat you like a zoo or sideshow exhibit.” For Wear Your Voice Mag, November 2016.